Being Selfish, Depression and Life Lessons…

Ok I admit it, writing this blog is pretty selfish of me. I have no idea if anyone I know reads it, they have never mentioned it, although I suspect they have.

In all honesty when things are good in my life I tend not to write as much on here. A part of what this blog is about for me is coping with my life and the things that don’t always make me happy. Sometimes it’s easier to write than it is to face talking about it. I feel like it gets boring for people to keep helping me work through my life. Even if they are under strict orders to tell me if I ever become a burden!

It has never been meant to hurt anyone, it’s me processing my thoughts and feelings. That’s why on occasion I remove posts, normally they were written in anger and with a cool head the embarrassment creeps in and I remove them. I’m making more of a conscious effort to write posts over a period of time to make sure I don’t write something I go on to regret.

When I first realised I was depressed I began talking to people I’m close to about it. I realised that they were also suffering and they hadn’t shared that with me. I felt like I’d let them down because they didn’t feel like they could share with me which doesn’t help.

For some people talking about it isn’t something they are comfortable with so I don’t push. Sometimes you are both depressed at the same time and then it all gets a little weird. Like a joint party of sadness where you try to prove you are worse off. That’s normally when it becomes funny, but only certain people will get that.

Depression is a selfish frame of mind and you don’t always realise it. You don’t always notice that you’re depressed straight away, you can just be in a rut of a few low mood days. Or even worse it could just be your hormones acting up!

When your mood affects the mood of the people you care about, you realise you have let them down. It’s hard to see your mood affecting them which just makes everything worse. Especially when it makes them distance themself from you.

People often feel out of their depth to know what to say or do to help but the best thing is to let them talk. You can’t fix it or snap someone out of depression so let them talk. Try and encourage them do one thing every day you know they enjoy.

Honestly, letting them know you are there for them is important, because when they feel better they will always remember that. Even if you didn’t know what to say or do, you were there.

Everyone is selfish at times but I think most women would say it is an overdeveloped trait in men. One they sadly never grow out of. I’m sure men equally think women are selfish!

When you are young and immature the selfishness comes from the need to be the centre of attention and have the world revolve around you and what you want. Nothing is more important than your needs and how you feel, your opinion is the only one that matters because you are always right.

You don’t notice how your actions affect the people around you. You also rarely apologise or try to make amends for the things you did wrong even when you do realise. You just carry on as if nothing happened or make a token effort to show your sorry.

Youth gives you the uncanny knack of thinking that you are invincible and that nothing can touch you. Anything you don’t like you just dismiss as being irrelevant. Anyone who poses a threat to your happiness is easily ignored. What do they say about youth being wasted on the young!

But in order to learn from your mistakes you have to first make them. Listening to the wise words of those who’ve had more birthdays than you isn’t very cool, even if you often end up realising they were right all along!

How many times have you looked back on how you acted when you were younger and wished you did something differently? How many times did you wish you could go back with what you know now and fix a situation? How many times did you wish you could heal a friendship or relationship you let go?

I have so many regrets that I didn’t do things better when I was younger.

Holding grudges is selfish, punishing people for their mistakes is selfish, taking control of the power in a relationship is selfish, always putting your needs before others is selfish, always taking and never giving back is selfish, giving someone false hope is selfish, making promises you have no intention of keeping is selfish, constantly attacking someones personality is selfish, walking away and not talking things through is selfish, belittling someone because of how you feel about yourself is selfish, being abusive in all its forms to the people who care about you is selfish.

But we all do some of that to a degree without even noticing. We have an inbuilt need to feel superior and think we should be more important, but of course not everyone acts on those impulses all of the time.

None of us are immune from bad behaviour. We all display weakness of character at times. The mark of a person is how they forgive and if they try to make amends when they realise they have done wrong. Forgiveness is not easy to do especially when the person you need to forgive is yourself. But trust me forgiving the right people for the right reasons will always be worth it.

People change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Sometimes it’s not the person that changes but the life they find themselves in, and the pressure of coping with the change affects how they behave. They might start being aggressive, moody, even withdrawn and you may feel like they are a different person. But underneath they are the same person you always knew, figuring out how to cope.

There are some situations you find yourself in that force you to grow quicker than you know how, to fulfil a demand on you and that is difficult for anyone to cope with. You are bound to lose a bit of yourself in the change, but no matter what changes your life goes through, you can always choose to be the same person in spite of the change. You don’t have to lose who you are.

Stress is never a good thing. My doctor told me earlier in the year that stress was contributing to my feeling unwell, and advised a change of job as it didn’t suit me. Stress becomes a part of you if you let it. It can physically manifest itself in the aches and pains of your body or the changes in your personality. In order to keep yourself healthy you need to find an effective way to cope with your stress when it arises.

Life is about finding a balance between the person you need to be for yourself and the person the people in your life need you to be. It’s easier said than done, when it feels like all the people around you want something from you, and you only have a little bit of yourself to share around. That is when honest communication becomes important, and often gets overlooked.

There is no problem so big or so small that can’t be resolved with some healthy conversation with the right people. In fact sometimes it ends up being the best thing you ever did. A different perspective on a problem can often show you a solution you never considered before. An understanding and sympathetic ear might be just what you need to help make sense of the situation, even if they can’t offer a solution. Sometimes just by talking it through and hearing your thoughts out loud a solution becomes clearer to you.

Work should be a means to an end and not the sole focus of your life. You need to remember to do the things that make you happy too. No one wants to look back in 5, 10, 15 years time and realise they have achieved everything they set out to in their career, but at the expense of friendships, relationships and a personal life.

It isn’t often that people manage to make a success of their career, achieve all their goals and have a happy and fulfilling family life. I’ve worked with so many people who spent too much time at work and not enough time with family. They all say the same thing, ‘I’m missing out on my kids growing up’. My reply was always the same, stop putting work first and spend time with your family for a while and you will feel so much better.

It can be a very lonely life if you let it and although a job can give you the funds to buy the house, car and life you want it won’t keep you warm on a cold night. A job won’t run to the door to meet you at night with a big smile on its face because you are home. It won’t hold you after a bad day and tell you everything will be alright and it won’t look after you when you’re old.

In order to succeed in life you need to have a core of supportive people around you who will pick you up on the days when you need it. People you can rely on to be there no matter what. Who won’t get mad at you when you go missing in action and cancel dinner dates at the last-minute. Who will remember to buy presents for family birthdays because you didn’t get time or set reminders in your diary of important things so you don’t forget. Those people will help take the pressure off when you feel like you are sinking in the mud with no way out.

It might seem like fun to have one relationship after another or endless one night stands when you are young. But one day you might look back and wish you did things a little differently. Life moves faster than you ever think possible. You might keep thinking you have time to meet the right one, but maybe you never will. Maybe they were there all along and you overlooked them!

Never underestimate someone who wants to help you on your journey, and asks for nothing but your time when you can spare it in return. There aren’t many people in life, who are happy to give up their time to help others succeed without an ulterior motive. Most people enjoy watching others fail or using people to enhance their own lives.

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I’ve always believed that we can go further in life if we help people achieve their potential. You never know when a compliment might be the match that ignites someone’s confidence to reach out and achieve a dream. You never know when checking in on someone to see if they are ok, could become the spark of inspiration they need to get past the mental block they were stuck in.

You will get much more from life if you learn to ask for help from the right people when you need it. It isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of strength in yourself and knowing your limitations. If someone offers to help, take them up on it, they may not offer again!

No one has to walk life’s road alone, baring the brunt of all their worries, sharing them with the people who care about you will help to lighten the load. Because maybe they were all being a little to selfish to notice you were struggling. Or you’ve become so good at hiding it that they didn’t know where to look for the signs. Maybe they would love to be given the chance to help you.

I’ve always believed that companies should utilise staff to the best of their ability and talent and that way everyone will have a better work life. Just think if you hate doing excel reports but someone else loves it how much happier you would both be to trade roles for a while! You would both create better work and save time by getting the right people doing the job.

Holding onto your anger for someone and punishing them for it is selfish. Don’t let someone you care about become a part of your history because you are too stubborn to talk and resolve your issues. Maybe all you can hope for at the end of it is a clean ending but that’s better than holding on to anger and hating someone.

One thing I’ve learned is you always end up forgiving the people you love, no matter what they do to hurt you or how hard they push you away. When you have a real connection with someone, then you know what behaviour is really them or when they are just acting out.

You forgive the acting out because you connected with the person underneath all the bullshit, the person whose smile lights a room and fills your heart with happiness. True, honest and genuine friendships are so hard to find and it only gets harder as you get older.

No relationship is ever perfect, you will always have to compromise, but often those weird and annoying things you learn to live with become what you miss, because they make the person unique!

I got complimented on my weird sense of humour this week and I made someone smile because I told them I’m the kind of person who gets into trouble for enjoying my life. I make far too many jokes, harmlessly flirt too easily, laugh too loudly and enjoy a practical joke every now and again.

It’s why I ended up getting sent to work in the naughty corner at my last job, people said we were having too much fun at work. I’d call that a good thing! I was increasing our productivity by keeping everyone smiling. It’s one of the reasons that my colleagues were sad to see me go, they had no one to raise their spirits on the stressful days.

Love is a strange thing, it brings you the most pleasure and happiness you could ever imagine, but with it is comes the constant threat of pain deeper than anything you have ever experienced before. Real love never goes away, no matter how much time passes.

How many times have you seen someone go through life still being in love with someone they lost? Years could pass by, you could be happy with someone else and if the opportunity arose to have that person back in your life, some people would still take that risk.

‘I never stopped loving you’ is a powerful phrase. We all have an inbuilt need to be loved. Yet we allow ourselves to love those who never love us back. That has to be one of the most cruel experiences in life, unrequited love.

Although sometimes it’s the people you never thought you saw a future with that turn out to be the one you wanted all along. Love is sometimes blind to what is right in front of it.

Sometimes it’s a case of right person but wrong time. Only in life there is no such thing as a right time, sometimes you just have to take a risk, give it a proper chance, talk it through and find a way to make it work.

I know two couples who are happily married now, but when they first met they used to avoid each other as neither of the women liked the men! In the passage of spending time together they realised how they really felt. One of the couples is my grandparents who have been happily married for over 60 years.

Someone once told me that you don’t fall in love with people by spending time with them. I didn’t correct them but perhaps I should. They really were missing the point.

I suppose in a way loving someone is selfish. You love them and want them to love you back. You expect them to put in the effort you do to making things work. When they don’t you get disappointed and blame them for not being who you want them to be. But that isn’t fair, you can’t blame someone for being themself. Neither can you love someone you are constantly trying to change.

There are some people who love having people do everything for them and never have the intention to return that affection. They haven’t evolved enough to realise that all relationships/ friendships/ partnerships are based on compromise. Or should I say a healthy amount of compromise on both sides. Not just one person always compromising or letting the other person have their own way for a quiet life. People in those situations often end up living unhappy lives filled with arguments and anger because they didn’t have the life skills to find a better way.

I’m starting to think I might be selfish for wanting to have him in my life when he’s made it clear he doesn’t want me in his. I thought we were just giving each other space for a while and by the time my birthday came around we’d be able to pass the time of day at least. Maybe caring for him was always selfish of me. Maybe I was always the one in the wrong.

Maybe I have to learn to accept that no matter what I thought the future was for our relationship he didn’t feel the same way. I thought I’d met someone who would always be in my life, a friendship that would grow with the changes in our lives. Someone I could always count on to make me smile and who knew I was there if they ever needed me.

I found myself looking for him in the crowded shopping centre on Friday. I scanned faces and did double takes of anyone who vaguely matched his height and build. But what would I have done if I saw him? I have no idea. Probably just smiled and carried on walking with tears in my eyes.

I went to Portobello Market yesterday. There was a big group of us, yet I found myself walking alone in the crowded market feeling heavy under the weight of my own sadness, and wondering if I will ever feel true happiness again. We passed the turn off towards his house on the way and a part of me wondered, if I drove past would I get to see him again one last time. I don’t think it would help if I did.

I don’t think I will ever understand why he left. How we went from being close friends to strangers in such a short space of time and without being able to say for sure the reasons why. It gives me such a heavy heart. Yet I can’t fully believe that we will never speak again. Maybe its a selfish part of me needing to feel like I meant something to him after all our years of friendship.

I think it’s more of a case of  me knowing that you don’t have the sort of friendship we had with many people in life. It might not always have been smooth sailing, we both made mistakes. We had time apart before but we always made it back to each other. Each time we learned a little more about each other and things were better because of it. I can’t help wondering what would have happened if we sat down and talked properly, instead of second guessing each other.

Nothing in life worth having comes easy, some things are worth the effort and for me our friendship was always that. Something that special shouldn’t just be given up on when times get tough. I’ve never fought for anything in my life-like I have to keep our friendship alive, because nothing has ever touched my heart enough to warrant the effort. I wouldn’t have been able to succeed all this time unless it meant something to him too.

I guess that’s why I don’t want to let go. Walking away and giving up is taking an easy way out. Only this time I don’t know how to keep the fight going. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Maybe doing nothing is the right thing to do right now, no matter how wrong it feels.

I saw a programme this week where a footballer was talking about his depression and how it affected his life. He got to the point where he was planning suicide. I’ve heard those thoughts are common in sports people when they retire or get injured.

Being a professional in any sport requires single-minded dedication to succeed from a young age. Often you retire in your 30’s, sometimes with little education and no transferable skills. If you were not careful with your money then there is a lot of life ahead of you that needs to be filled and not much in the way of job prospects. It would be an immense pressure on anyone to find themselves in that situation.

I could understand completely where he was coming from. He said his depression stemmed from a desire to achieve and succeed in playing football. Not being able to achieve what he wanted made him feel like he let everyone down and that made him feel inferior.

I think that is often the route of my depression. I dreamed my life to be better than it is. I have things I always wanted to achieve and places I wanted to go. I haven’t been able to find the chances in life to make those things happen and I feel like I’ve let myself down.

I’ve largely been unlucky. Not always having the confidence to push myself hasn’t helped. I’m much better at building other people up and supporting them in achieving their goals than I am in driving my own. But for the first time I had the right support around me and I managed to make good headway this year to achieving my goals. Only to have it all come crashing down.

Not because I wasn’t good at what I do, but because of office politics. That was hard to take. To give my all to a company where I was made promises of having a future, to having work taken off me and eventually being let go, all whilst being told how good I am at what I do. I just couldn’t cope.

Finally I had the chance to improve my life and it was taken away from me. I could understand if I’d done something wrong but I had exceeded the expectations of my colleagues, evolved my position beyond the job description to make the lives of my colleagues easier, become an integral part of connecting the departments and it still wasn’t enough to keep my job. If I was running a business there is no way I would have let a member of staff who showed that much potential leave my company.

So now I have to find another opportunity to show what I can do and it isn’t that easy. I fell into that job at the right time, it was a unique experience that I will never find again. It would take years elsewhere to get the recognition and promotion I managed in little over a month. In fact being promoted on my birthday last year was pretty cool.

I remember saying to my friend if he ever needed a PA then I wanted first dibs on the job. It’s a shame he doesn’t need one now. I think with our brains, his good looks and confidence we’d go far!

I know at times I can be selfish but I would say more often than not I’m not selfish enough. I don’t put myself first enough. I don’t like being selfish. I always try to make sure I ask about other people and not just talk about myself. Even when sometimes I’m desperate to talk something through I put that aside to put the other person first.

I know some of my limitations. I don’t cope well with stress. I need to be able to talk to people about it and work it through and I need support when I’m feeling low. When you are always there to provide support to others you don’t think it will be an issue when you need some support in return, but that is a selfish way of looking at life. Because you should do it because you want to and not to get something in return.

So yes at times I’m selfish and I make mistakes, I’m human. I’m also loyal to those I care about which seems to be an under appreciated quality in modern society.

I blame social media for that. If you’re loyal then you are seen as desperate and clingy to some people, who aren’t mature enough to see that loyalty is a rare commodity and it should never be underestimated.

I guess we can’t blame them, young people today have no interest in the past. My brother hates talking about anything that happened more than 5 years ago as it is ‘no longer relevant’. Whenever you talk about a funny story from when he was small he just gets angry which I find weird. Just because it happened more than 5 years ago doesn’t change its relativity to your current situation. In fact all your experiences made you who you are now.

Every event in your life and the world has made you who you are now and you can’t discredit any of it. You have no idea what impact would have been made on your life had it not happened. If the internet didn’t exist for example, I couldn’t write this post for you now. I’m assuming of course that someone out there will read it!

I find it short-sighted of the youth of today to discredit history’s affect on their current situation. I think it’s a shame that a lot of young people see reading as a waste of time, because I think reading truly helps to educate you to be a better person.

I’ve learned a lot about human nature and life by reading. Even fiction books show you how different types of people react in different situations as all writing is born with a little bit of truth in it.

I also think young people take themselves and life way too seriously. They talk endlessly in short hand but end up saying nothing, and have whole conversations using nothing but emojis but lose the art of having a proper conversation. They can’t spend time with people without playing with their phones. It makes sense why a lot of young people struggle to cope with the pressures of life when they aren’t learning proper life skills any more.

Someone commented to me the other day that social media is a barrier to life. Instead of going out and meeting people face to face, people just talk online. In the future people will no longer remember how to have a proper conversation. When I’m out with friends I only check my phone before I’m due to go home. I have someone in front of me who deserves my full attention.

I also read that a lack of physical contact can be a cause of depression. I can relate to that a bit. There are periods of time when I don’t go out enough to do fun things, due to one reason or another. As soon as I spend more time out having fun I feel better.

It’s a shame that nights out are so expensive and tickets are so hard to come by. I have only managed one football match this season as I never have enough points to buy tickets before they sell out.

I think it’s a shame that we no longer have the stability of jobs for life. The fast paced world of today doesn’t sit well with being behind the same desk day in, day out doing the same job your whole working life. But the bigger issue is that companies are disloyal to employees and that promotes unproductive workplaces and causes people to change jobs on a regular basis. Too many people are out to serve their own purpose without looking at the wider picture.

Some of the worst people I’ve worked with have that mentality. They stay at somewhere just long enough for the company to realise they are under qualified for the job and move on in search of more money. I used to enjoy reading CV’s of job applicants and writing questions for the interview panel. Having written a lot of CV’s I can often tell when people are trying to hide something. Never kid a kidder I always say!

That implies I lie on my CV, I don’t. I can’t stand lying. I’m not very good at it, it’s too much pressure to remember the lies, I prefer to be truthful, then you can have a clear conscience.

There have been a few things that happened this week that made me think. Conversations I’ve had with people and my job interview. I think I’m wearing my brain out with all the over use it’s getting and it takes me nowhere good most of the time. I think that’s why I wanted to write this post. To share some of the thoughts that have been stealing my sleep this week.

I read something that said when you miss someone the frustration of that loss keeps you awake at night. I find it starts my mind racing with no way of me turning the bloody thing off! An over active mind steals all your energy by making situations worse than they are and it steals your happiness. It’s bloody infuriating and I can only control it some of the time. Luckily it was Halloween this weekend so I could pass the dark circles under my eyes off as the ‘zombie’ look!

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